European instability hits CRH performance

Building materials group CRH has said that trading operations in Europe in the first four months of the year has been affected by severe weather conditions in February and by the ongoing impact on sentiment of volatility in Eurozone financial markets.

In an interim management statement issued this morning ahead of the company's AGM today, CRH however said that its operations in the Americas have benefited from "favourable early weather conditions and a firmer tone in construction markets in the United States".

"Overall, cumulative like-for-like Group sales to end-April were +2% ahead of 2011, although EBITDA for the period lagged 2011 due to the tough start in our European operations," the statement said.

The company said it expected overall EBITDA in the less significant first half of the year to be close to last year's level of €574m.

"With incrementally more positive US economic and construction prospects for 2012 mitigating a more cautious view on the outlook in Europe, we continue, subject to no major financial or energy market dislocations, to expect overall like-for-like sales growth in 2012 and a year of progress for CRH," the statement added.

Meanwhile SIPTU has said that over 100 Irish Cement workers are to protest at the CRH Group AGM in Dublin this morning as part of their campaign to secure monies which they say are owed to them.

The workers, from the Irish Cement Ltd production plants in Castlemungret, Co. Limerick and Platin, Co. Meath - are in their sixth week of strike action.

Irish Cement Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the CRH Group.

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